Colorado Republicans Rage At Facebook’s Trump Ban

This guy again.

As the New York Times reports and you doubtless already know, Facebook’s appointed Oversight Board yesterday declined to lift the company’s ban on former President Donald Trump utilizing the platform, directing the company to clarify its rules and come back in six months for another review:

A Facebook-appointed panel of journalists, activists and lawyers on Wednesday upheld the social network’s ban of former President Donald J. Trump, ending any immediate return by Mr. Trump to mainstream social media and renewing a debate about tech power over online speech.

Facebook’s Oversight Board, which acts as a quasi-court over the company’s content decisions, ruled the social network was right to bar Mr. Trump after the insurrection in Washington in January, saying he “created an environment where a serious risk of violence was possible.” The panel said that ongoing risk “justified” the move.

But the board also kicked the case back to Facebook and its top executives. It said that an indefinite suspension was “not appropriate” because it was not a penalty defined in Facebook’s policies and that the company should apply a standard punishment, such as a time-bound suspension or a permanent ban. The board gave Facebook six months to make a final decision on Mr. Trump’s account status.

CBS4 Denver has the reaction from Colorado’s minority Republican congressional delegation, and they are uniformly on full-tilt outrage. Rep. Ken Buck, whose crusade against Big Tech’s allegedly censorious ways predates Trump’s post-insurrection social media blackout, invoked the nastiest (and most dreadfully overused) comparison in the GOP playbook, Communist Gyna:

Following the news that Facebook Oversight Committee upheld former President Donald Trump’s ban, the three Republican members of Colorado’s Congressional Delegation were quick to react.

Rep. Ken Buck went to the social media platform itself, posting a link to an NPR article about the decision and commenting: “Silencing former leaders is something they do in Communist China, Big Tech has too much power.”

Not to be outdone, Rep. Lauren Boebert apparently thinks someone has been executed?

3rd District Rep. Lauren Boebart voiced her criticism on Twitter, tweeting “The Facebook Oversight Board acted as the judge, jury, prosecutor, appellate court and executioner. Big Tech needs to be broken up.”

Even Colorado’s least charismatic member of Congress, Rep. Doug Lamborn, took a swing:

“Unfortunately, Facebook’s decision to keep the ban on President Trump comes as no surprise. No social media company should have the power to entirely block a public official from communicating with the American people. Facebook’s oversight board is a farce. We must reign in #BigTech.”

Here we come to the central issue, which is the idea as Lamborn falsely suggests that Facebook has the ability to “entirely block a public official from communicating with the American people.” As we saw this week with the much-hyped launch of former President Trump’s blog, Trump is fully able to communicate with the American people online as much as he wants. He’s just not doing it on private commercial social media networks who have the full authority–let’s go a step farther and call it a right–to deny the use of their system to people who misuse it for criminal purposes like inciting a riot.

Though we certainly do not have the reach of a global platform like Facebook, we do have some experience on this blog with regulating the limits of content we consider inappropriate, undesirable, or any other way we might choose to evaluate what our readers post in comments and community blogs. Our standards are liberal enough that we’re generally accused of not policing content adequately as opposed to allegations of censorship, but we absolutely retain the right to moderate posted content and deny access to abusive users. If, for example, readers started plotting in comments to overthrow the state government, we’d feel an obligation to stop that.

In short, there’s a huge disconnect between the “free market” values these conservatives claim to uphold and their allegation that these private companies have committed some kind of unconstitutional suppression of former President Trump’s free speech rights. Free speech is not and has never been an entitlement to somebody else’s broadcast platform to amplify your speech at their expense. The violent insurrection on January 6th directly caused by the refusal of Trump (and for that matter, Boebert and Lamborn) to accept the results of the 2020 elections is ample cause to to permanently ban Trump from any private platform that wishes to.

But that segues into a conversation none of them want to have.

Your Definition of “We” Might be Different

We were amused to come across this social media malfunction today in which the official account of the Colorado Republican Party re-tweeted Colorado GOP Chairperson Kristi Burton Brown offering some ill-considered praise:


The key word here is “we.” When Brown congratulates Republican Rep. Kevin Van Winkle and writes that “this is an essential issue we can all agree on,” she apparently isn’t talking about the 15 REPUBLICANS who voted “NO” on HB21-1258 (Rapid Mental Health Response for Colorado Youth). The “NO” votes for this well-publicized legislation include both the current House Minority Leader Hugh McKean and the former House Minority Leader, Rep. Pat Neville.

Final House vote on HB21-1258

 

Also voting against Van Winkle’s bill were some familiar Republican names: Rep. Mark Baisley, Rep. Rod Bockenfeld, Rep. Mary Bradfield, Rep. Tim Geitner, Rep. Ron Hanks, Rep. Stephanie Luck, Rep. Andres Pico, Rep. Kim Ransom, Rep. Janice Rich, Rep. Shane Sandridge, Rep. Matt Soper, Rep. Dave Williams, and Rep. Dan Woog. Two Republican House Members were listed as “excused” in the final vote, which means that a grand total of 7 Republicans voted “YES” on this “essential issue we can all agree on.”

And what does HB21-1258 seek to accomplish that is of such concern that 2 out of 3 House Republicans can’t agree? As CBS4 Denver reports:

One of the most ambitious mental health bills in state history is making its way through the legislature. The goal of the legislation is to help kids struggling with pandemic-related depression and anxiety.

Even before COVID-19, Colorado had a mental health crisis among kids. Suicide is the number one cause of death among kids ages 10-18 in Colorado, and Children’s Hospital says, since the pandemic started last year, it’s seen a 10% increase in emergency room visits by kids having suicidal thoughts….

…Rep. Dafna Michaelson Jenet introduced a bill with Rep. Kevin Van Winkle which would give every school-aged kid in Colorado access to a mental health screening, and if needed, three therapy sessions, all paid for by the state.

“It’s a risk free trial,” said Michaelson Jenet. “They get three visits to see if therapy is something they want to pursue.”

Well, then.

Kristi Burton Brown is half-right about half of her Tweet: This is an essential issue we SHOULD all agree on…

And not just 29% of House Republicans.

Colorado Republicans: Still Speaking for the Racists

What else could “Buckwheat” possibly reference?

As we discussed in this space a few weeks ago, the 2021 Colorado legislative session has been notable, in part, for a consistent effort from Republican lawmakers to abandon all attempts at maintaining basic social and political norms. On numerous occasions, Republicans have made hurtful comments and blatantly racist statements on the floor of the State House — comments that prompted little more than a shrug from Republican leadership.

In mid-April, Republican Rep. Ron Hanks tried to explain his alternative history of the 3/5ths compromise and opened his remarks WITH A LYNCHING JOKE. In response to an outcry from every person with a sense of decency, House Minority Leader Hugh McKean shrugged off the controversy. As The Denver Post reported on April 22:

The Loveland Republican told The Post he welcomes and encourages all perspectives. The lectern of the House, he said in a statement, “is the exact place where we can have uncomfortable discussions, about policy, about views and about the path forward in Colorado.”

According to McKean, racism is just a different perspective. It was thus inevitable that this would happen again; hell, we practically predicted as much. On Wednesday, Republican State Rep. Richard Holtorf took his turn:

 


As you can see from the video, Holtorf gets really upset that people are “yelling at him” for using a term that any nitwit knows to be racist (Holtorf claims that “Buckwheat” is a term of endearment, which just makes it worse). It’s hard to give Holtorf the benefit of the doubt anyway; after all, this is the same guy who told Rep. Tom Sullivan — whose son was killed in the Aurora Theater shooting — to just “get over it.”

Holtorf will no doubt have some sort of ridiculous explanation and half-assed apology along the lines of, Im sorry if anyone was offended, but this will keep happening as long as Republicans keep shrugging it away.

Colorado Republicans will be asking voters to return them to power in 2022, but it’s a tough argument to make when GOP leaders do nothing when their own members spout horrible, racist things on the FLOOR OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES. At least in previous election cycles, Republicans could argue that they weren’t being OVERTLY racist.

As we wrote just weeks ago:

If Republicans don’t want to be associated with white supremacists and hate speech, then they are free to be clear about distancing themselves from these viewpoints. But they’re not, and it isn’t from a lack of opportunity.

Republicans aren’t just refusing to distance themselves from racist rhetoric — they keep using the same language again and again and again.

You know who repeatedly uses racist rhetoric? Racists! At the State Capitol, we call them “Republicans.”

Recall Polis 2021 Promises 400% Less Fail This Time

Keeping tabs on what’s become a perennial distraction for Colorado’s more excitable far-right Republican whacktivists, the twice-failed but going for three campaign to qualify a recall question against Gov. Jared Polis for the statewide ballot. Next month, the Recall Polis campaign is back with 400% more…of everything!

Starting with punctuation!

So, we don’t know who this “Newsome” fellow they’re talking about is, but to be clear once again California’s Gov. Gavin Newsom is facing what’s shaping up to be another historic clown show recall election in due to proportionately far lower required signatures to qualify relative to our two states’ population. Gathering 1.6 million signatures in a state of 40 million people is actually a much more attainable goal than in Colorado, where over 600,000 signatures are needed in a state with only 6 million residents.

But that’s not going to stop the Recall Polis 2021 campaign from trying, no doubt hoping a little bit of the energy from California’s recall circus will rub off on Colorado. There’s big money to be raised and paid out no matter what happens, which as we know from the previous two failed attempts is enough reason all by itself to have another go.

And above all, don’t be fooled by imitators–of which there are so very many:

‘Recall Polis 2021’ is the only current recall campaign of Colorado Governor Jared Polis

‘Recall Polis 2021’ is not affiliated with:

Official Recall Polis
RecallPolis
Recallpolis.com (fraudulently collecting donations)
Coloradans Against Jared Polis
Friends of Recall Colorado Governor Jared Polis
Recall Jared Polis 2020
Recall Jared Polis 2021

So to recap, “Recall Polis 2021” is the only Recall Polis campaign you should send your welfare check to, definitely not to those ripoff artist bastards at “Recall JARED Polis 2021.” There are no “Friends of” the real recall campaign, the “Official Recall Polis” campaign is not official, and whatever you do do not donate to RecallPolis.com because they’re “fraudulently collecting donations.”

Third time’s a charm, folks! No, really.

Get More Smarter on Cinco de Mayo (May 5)

Happy Cinco de Mayo! Please celebrate responsibly and remember why this is a holiday. Let’s Get More Smarter; if you think we missed something important, please include the link in the comments below (here’s a good example). If you are more of an audio learner, check out The Get More Smarter Podcast. And don’t forget to find us on Facebook and Twitter.

 

CORONAVIRUS INFO…

*Colorado Coronavirus info:
CDPHE Coronavirus website 

*Daily Coronavirus numbers in Colorado:
http://covid19.colorado.gov

*How you can help in Colorado:
COVRN.com

*Locate a COVID-19 testing site in Colorado:
Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment 

*Coloradans can now get a COVID-19 vaccine at one of six locations without a prior appointment. 

 

► President Biden will address the nation today on the status of the $1.9 trillion American Recovery Plan approved by Congress earlier this year. As The Washington Post reports:

President Biden plans to address the nation Wednesday on the implementation of the $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package passed by Congress in March that included $1,400-per-person stimulus payments, aid to state and local governments, and other measures. Earlier in the day, he visited a Mexican restaurant that is benefiting from a relief program that was part of the package.

 

Facebook decided to uphold a decision to ban Donald Trump from the social media network.

 

 As POLITICO reports, it appears inevitable that House Republicans will boot Rep. Liz Cheney from her leadership position because she refused to play along with “The Big Lie” that Donald Trump actually won the 2020 Presidential election.

 

Westword looks at which Colorado counties are doing the best (and worst) job of vaccinating local residents.

 

Colorado Newsline reports on the rollout of a big transportation funding proposal — with an impressive list of supporters — at the state legislature:

A broad coalition of state and local elected officials and Colorado business groups on Tuesday unveiled a new legislative proposal that they hope will bring an end to a years-long quest to secure billions in new funding for roads and other transportation infrastructure.

“For the first time, we are introducing something that isn’t just a band-aid, but is instead a real framework to future-proof our transportation system,” Senate Majority Leader Steve Fenberg, a Democrat from Boulder, said in a press conference at the State Capitol. “This is a big deal.”

The bill unveiled Tuesday would allocate nearly $5.3 billion in funding for transportation over the next decade, $3.8 billion of which would come from a variety of new revenue mechanisms including fees on gasoline sales, ridesharing apps, deliveries, vehicle registrations and more. Another $1.5 billion would come from the state’s general fund and federal stimulus spending.

Supporters say the bill will help Colorado begin to address a backlog of badly-needed infrastructure improvements and could help the average Colorado driver save hundreds of dollars per year in costs associated with road congestion and vehicle maintenance needs caused by inferior roads. It would also allocate more than $700 million to vehicle electrification to support the state’s goal of putting nearly 1 million electric cars on the road by 2030.

Jesse Paul of The Colorado Sun has more on the announcement, as does Colorado Public Radio, 9News, and Denver7.

Let’s dig into more news from the state legislature…

Governor Jared Polis and state legislative leaders will unveil a proposal today to create a State Department of Early Childhood Education.

House leaders are pushing for a $75 million broadband expansion project.

Denver7 reports on discussions surrounding making changes to recall elections in Colorado.

Colorado law enforcement may be required to take additional training in the wake of a scandal surrounding the arrest of a woman with dementia in Loveland.

Lawmakers are considering legislation that would bar insurance companies from using consumer information to set rates that might vary based on race or sexual preference.

 

More political (and coronavirus) news is available right after the jump…

 

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Impressive Coalition Introducing New Transportation Bill

The “mousetrap” at I-25 and I-70 in Denver.

Governor Jared Polis and other state leaders will introduce a new transportation funding bill this afternoon representing one of the top priorities of the 2021 legislative session.

Whenever big new legislation is rolled out, it is usually accompanied by a list of names and organizations supporting the effort. But the coalition that will be in attendance on the West Steps of the State Capitol today is unusually robust:

♦  Governor Jared Polis

♦  Senate Majority Leader Steve Fenberg

♦  House Speaker Alec Garnett

♦  Senator Faith Winter

♦  Senator Kevin Priola

♦  Representative Matthew Gray

♦  Denver Mayor Michael Hancock

♦  Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers

♦  Boulder Mayor Sam Weaver

♦  Mike Kopp, Chair of A Way Forward and President and CEO of Colorado Concern

♦  Kelly Brough, President and CEO of Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce

♦  Carl Smith, SMART Union

♦  Elise Jones, Southwest Energy Efficiency Project

♦  Jake Swanton, Public Policy Director, Lyft

 

That’s one heck of a bipartisan list of supporters, including well-known Republicans such as Priola and Suthers. Right-wing groups like Americans for Potholes Prosperity are still expected to oppose the transportation sustainability legislation, but the broad group of backers included above will make it difficult for the usual Republican naysayers to gain much of a foothold.

The goal of the transportation bill that will be introduced this afternoon is to create a reliable stream of income for much-needed transportation and infrastructure repairs (Colorado was recently awarded a ‘C-‘ grade for the state of our roads and bridges). Coloradans will actually see a reduction in vehicle registration fees over the next two years before nominal new fees take effect in 2023.

Much of Colorado’s transportation infrastructure is funded by a fuel tax that should have been increased a long time ago; the gas tax was last adjusted in 1991 and has not kept pace with inflation over the years. The new legislation will create a “small road use fee” of  2 cents per gallon beginning in 2023 that will increase to 8 cents per gallon by the end of the decade. This funding source will ensure that drivers of electric and hybrid vehicles are paying a proportionate share of the money needed to maintain our roads and transportation infrastructure. Additional revenue will come from small fees on transportation services such as home deliveries (excluding grocery delivery) and ride-sharing services.

 

Here To Help, Health Care Scare Tactics Edition

As debate and inside-the-Dome wrangling continues over House Bill 21-1232, legislation intended to substantially reduce the cost of health coverage for Colorado consumers by asking the famously profitable healthcare industry to make some changes, industry-funded advocacy group Colorado’s Health Care Future has saturated local media markets with ads against…well, not the legislation actually under debate so much, but the amorphous idea of a “state government option” as something of a catch-all boogeyman–permitting fearful conservative audiences to let their imagination run freely much as they did over ten years ago with Sarah Palin’s Obamacare “death panels.”

The one consistent advantage to having no factual constraints on your campaign against a piece of legislation is how this allows for very dramatic messaging. Passing this legislation, or for that matter any legislation that would target health care costs to consumers, would according to the ads running against the bill would lead to wildly destructive consequences like hospitals closing and procedures rationed. And then we realized–why stop there?

Just come out and tell the people of Colorado that the “Colorado Option” is about pulling the plug on Grandma. It’s been over a decade since most people heard this claim about the Affordable Care Act, and by now at least some voters have forgotten that Obamacare never actually resulted in “death panels” or Grandmas having their plugs pulled.

Oldies are goodies, as they say, and today’s shrill campaign against a bill to reduce health care costs is as based in reality as the fact-free nonsense about Obamacare in 2010. And it’s happening for the same reason: money that an already profitable industry wants to keep raking in from ordinary people and at some point likely you personally.

With that said, we’ll take some of that sweet ad money if they want to use this.

Don’t Want To Play? It’s Your District That Will Pay

Reps. Lauren Boebert, Ken Buck (R-CO).

The Colorado Sun’s Sandra Fish brings us an interesting story today about how the transfer of power in Washington has changed the way business is being done–and how reluctance by Colorado’s three Republican members of Congress to step up to the proverbial pump for their home districts could leave their constituents out of big investment opportunities:

The four Colorado Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives have assembled a list of nearly $200 million in special spending on transportation initiatives and community projects in their districts as Congress reopens the door to the controversial practice of earmarking…

It’s been 10 years since Congress ended earmarks, the practice of allowing individual members to designate funding for projects in their districts. Scandals and controversy surrounding the spending practice led to its demise, and conservatives remain skeptical of earmarks.

“Tea Party” fiscal policy expert.

In truth, the biggest factor behind Congress imposing its “temporary” ban on earmarks in February of 2011 which has persisted to the present today was the Republican takeover of the U.S. House in the 2010 “Tea Party” wave elections. “Earmarks” were condemned by this new wave of far-right Republicans in Congress as a tool of corruption, but that’s neither an accurate nor fair representation of a longstanding practice by which lawmakers identify and seek funding for specific needs in their districts. That’s why Democrats, back in full albeit narrow control for the first time in a decade and looking to make historic investments, are looking to members of Congress to help set priorities.

For Republicans, this presents a choice: and our local Republicans are making the wrong one.

Republicans in conservative districts have disavowed the practice, including the three GOP U.S. representatives from Colorado. That could mean Colorado Springs and the state’s rural areas lose out on some funding opportunities.

In her February Fox News opinion piece, Rep. Lauren Boebert called bullcrap on bringing home the bacon for CD-3:

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., are quietly pushing a campaign to reinstate earmarks so they can fund liberal pet projects and buy votes with your tax dollars.

Republicans should unite behind our promise to put the American people first, drain the swamp, and commit to putting a stop Democrats’ plans to revive pork-barrel politics.

Rep. Ken Buck said the same for his district in a Newsweek op-ed in March:

Now, today, Democrats are trying to revive the practice—and some Republicans on Capitol Hill seem willing to go along. This time around, however, politicians are attempting to give a new image to the unpopular term “earmarks.” We hear now that these projects will often be referred to as “member-directed funding for community projects.” Apparently that phrase polled better than “taxpayer-funded pet projects to help members of Congress gain political favor.”

Rep. Doug Lamborn (R).

Responding to the Colorado Sun, Rep. Doug Lamborn’s office was even more blunt:

“As of now, Congressman Lamborn’s office will not be working on community-funded projects,” Cassandra Sebastian, Lamborn’s spokeswoman, said in an email.

That may disappoint some of the Republicans’ constituents…

The campaign against earmarks waged by the “Tea Party” movement in 2010 was, like so much of the rhetoric from that crazy and portentous year in American politics, based largely on anecdotes trumping data and rank misinformation. Individual examples of perceived waste were invoked to discredit the far larger share of spending on popular and necessary projects. It’s a political game as old as dirt, but until the next elections Republicans have only the choice to step up for their districts–or allow needs for their constituents to go unmet out of pure political spite.

The out-of-state ideologues these Republicans are largely beholden to won’t care.

But stakeholders in their districts who pay the price for this grandstand will get their say at the polls.

Tuesday Open Thread

“Propaganda does not deceive people; it merely helps them to deceive themselves.”

–Eric Hoffer

Lauren Boebert Shuns Colorado Reporters Altogether

Rep. Lauren Boebert speaks at Club 20 event in April (via Grand Junction Daily Sentinel)

As a political reporter for The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel, Charles Ashby has covered politics and politicians in Colorado for decades. This includes the offices of former Congressional Members Scott McInnis, John Salazar, and Scott Tipton, as well as current Congressperson Lauren Boebert (R-ifle).

You might think that Boebert would have some sort of a working relationship with a well-respected political reporter who writes for one of the largest newspapers in her district (and perhaps the largest newspaper in her hometown of Rifle). But as Ashby told hosts Jason Bane and Ian Silverii on The Get More Smarter Podcast last week, Boebert’s office literally doesn’t even respond to his inquiries.

You can listen to the entire interview after the jump. In the meantime, we transcribed Ashby’s comments about his experience in trying to cover the Congressperson that represents readers of The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel:

SILVERII: What’s the difference between covering Lauren Boebert and Scott Tipton?

ASHBY: Well, it’s very difficult when you have a sitting Congressman who won’t return your calls, whose press office won’t even return an email or a text message. They’ll send you out their press releases, and if you want a response, you have to check her Twitter account. So that’s very frustrating. Even Tipton — his people didn’t like me much, either — but they would at least talk to me. They would at least answer questions. And she doesn’t do that. So, that’s very frustrating. [Pols emphasis]

SILVERII: She doesn’t seem to have a problem getting airtime on Newsmax or Fox News or Breitbart, but it does seem like she is allergic to the Colorado press corps. Do you think that’s an intentional strategy on her part?

ASHBY: Oh, God, yes. Oh, definitely. She wants to talk to people who she sees as favorable to her. [Pols emphasis] And I’ll give you a good example. Most of her public events that she has been doing, all the way back from campaigning, have been to friendly crowds. Earlier this month she was at the spring conference for Club 20, which is a government/civic/private group of all the Western Slope counties. [She was there] just to answer questions, and that has Democrats and Republicans and Unaffiliated [voters] on that panel, and she was asked a couple of questions that came from Democrats that she didn’t like. She got very, very, very upset afterward. [Pols emphasis]

Questions were like, ‘Do you think Joe Biden was legitimately elected to the White House?’ Her response was, ‘Well, he’s in the White House.’

Yes, but… [laughter from Bane and Silverii].

SILVERII: But HOW did he get there?

ASHBY: Yeah, but she didn’t answer that question. She got really upset. I can’t remember who it was — it was a woman on the Aspen City Council, I think, who asked that question. Somebody else, and I wrote the story about this, from San Juan County — a Democrat — a Commissioner down there, asked her, ‘Are you willing to compromise with people on the other side so that we can get things done?’ And she wasn’t meaning it in the sense of, ‘I’m going to compromise my principles, I’m going to compromise my values.’ No, she meant, when you’re dealing with legislation…this country was built on compromise, right? That’s why it works the way it works. And she, of course, said emphatically, ‘No, I will not.’ 

And then the very next week, she and Marjorie Taylor Greene are the only two lawmakers to vote against a bill to put money into a bone marrow transplant website that matches people up [with others] who need bone marrow. They’ve [Congress] been funding that since the 1980s. It was widely bipartisan. There were only two votes against it — those two. And she says she did that because she doesn’t want to spend more government money. And then she introduces a bill to increase the PILT payments to counties and local governments. So…okay. 

Click after the jump to listen to more of Ashby’s interview on The Get More Smarter Podcast.

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Two Americas, Two Colorados–But One Majority

President Joe Biden.

A new poll of Colorado voters from Keating Research on behalf of Onsight Public Affairs shows President Joe Biden enjoying comfortable majority approval in our state, in line with national polling showing Americans are happier with the Biden than they ever were with the previous administration:

Having reached the 100-days-in-office mark, President Joe Biden continues to be viewed favorably by a majority of Coloradans — who also give high marks to the president’s proposed $2 trillion American Jobs Plan — according to the latest Keating–OnSight–Melanson (KOM) Colorado Poll™ released today…

Biden’s +14 on favorability (56% favorable, 42% unfavorable) is even higher than in our October KOM Colorado Poll (+7: 53% favorable, 46% unfavorable). His favorable standing is driven by Democrats (89% favorable, 10% unfavorable) and unaffiliated voters (57% favorable, 41% unfavorable).

“Biden continues to find strong support with the voters that propelled him to a convincing, 13-point win against Trump in Colorado in November,” said Curtis Hubbard, principal at OnSight Public Affairs. “Whether it’s his disciplined, thoughtful response to the COVID-19 pandemic or his plans to create jobs and spur economic growth via making long-overdue investments in infrastructure, voters clearly feel like Biden is delivering.”

But on the other side of the starkest political divide of our lifetimes so far, a very different view prevails:

While 61% of voters said “Joe Biden legitimately won the election” the 28% who said it was “stolen from Donald Trump” was driven largely by Republicans (with 67% of all Republicans saying it was stolen).

“Most Coloradans believe that President Biden won fair and square,” said pollster Chris Keating. “However, as we see in this poll and recently when the Republican chair of Colorado’s Congressional Redistricting Commission was removed from that post, election conspiracies are not a fringe view among Republicans in Colorado — and frankly that’s dangerous for our democracy.”

In short, you have a united political bloc of Colorado Democrats who are delighted with Biden’s early bold action on long-sought policy goals, and the state’s plurality of unaffiliated voters who also strongly approve of Biden’s performance so far. In opposition to this reality-based majority coalition you have a large majority of Colorado Republicans who, not surprisingly, don’t support Biden’s agenda–but more importantly, by a 67% supermajority, do not even believe that the current President holds power legitimately.

There’s no analogue on the left to this phenomenon. It is not a dispute over, say, the Electoral College as an anti-democratic historical anachronism. This is a supermajority of Colorado Republicans who simply have decided without any factual basis that an election they didn’t like the result of was stolen. Especially in the likely event that Colorado Republicans continue to lose elections as the state continues its demographic march leftward, it’s is a disturbing portent. A democracy in which only one side respects the results is, needless to say, in serious trouble.

The one saving grace, at least for today, is that GOP supermajority view only adds up to 28% of everybody.

At Least He’s Not Your Psycho State Legislator

Kansas State Rep. Mark Samsel

In another edition of our long-running series, “At Least They’re Not Your Legislator,” we take you to Kansas, where inappropriate and illegal behavior seems to be the preferred out-of-session behavior for Republican lawmakers. This particular story apparently caught a number of eyes; several different people emailed the link in the past couple of days.

As The Kansas City Star reports, Republican State Rep. Mark Samsel is in a heap of trouble after acting like a complete psycho while working as a substitute teacher at a Kansas high school:

Samsel was arrested on charges of misdemeanor battery on Thursday after getting into a physical altercation with a student while substitute teaching in Wellsville…

…On Wednesday, Samsel, R-Wellsville, was substitute teaching at the Wellsville school district’s secondary school. Throughout the day, high school students began recording videos of the lawmaker talking about suicide, sex, masturbation, God and the Bible.

In one video shared with The Star, Samsel tells students about “a sophomore who’s tried killing himself three times,” adding that it was because “he has two parents and they’re both females.”

If only that were the end of this story. At some point, Samsel started to focus his anger on one particular student:

Videos shared with The Star — by parents of students in the class — show Samsel focusing most of his attention on one male student. Both Samsel and the student paced around the classroom, talking back and forth. Samsel is shown following the student around and grabbing him. In one video, he puts his arms around the student and says that he was being hard on him.

At one point, Samsel tells the student, “You’re about ready to anger me and get the wrath of God. Do you believe me when I tell you that God has been speaking to me?” He then pushes him, and the student runs to the other side of the classroom.

“You should run and scream.”

Samsel later wrote on Snapchat that his, uh, performance had given one student “hope”

Samsel eventually kneed the student in the groin while encouraging other students to do the same.

Samsel was later arrested (he was released on bond) but has been banned from ever teaching in the school district again. Kansas Republicans are still discussing whether or not to punish Samsel at the state legislature.

Naturally, he has a bananas explanation for his behavior. From NBC News:

“The kids and I planned ALL this to SEND A MESSAGE about art, mental health, teenage suicide, how we treat our educators and one another. To who? Parents. And grandparents. And all of Wellsville,” he wrote on Snapchat, according to the Star.

In an interview with NBC Topeka affiliate KSNT, Samsel repeated this sentiment and questioned whether he even scared the students.“Nobody was ever in danger,” he said. “Did we make it look like…we were hurting kids? Yeah we did.”

Samsel is the second Kansas Republican lawmaker facing criminal charges in the last couple of weeks. In early April, Senate Republicans ousted their own Senate Majority Leader after Sen. Gene Suellentrop was arrested for a DUI and trying to drive the wrong way on I-70; Suellentrop had called the arresting officer “donut boy” and tried to fight the person who was trying to administer a blood alcohol test.

Monday Open Thread

“A good compromise, a good piece of legislation, is like a good sentence; or a good piece of music. Everybody can recognize it. They say, ‘Huh. It works. It makes sense.'”

–Barack Obama

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